Will Twitter end today with the Twitpocalypse?

From the ‘shadow of Y2K‘ files:

At 5 PM ET/2PM PT today (Friday June 12, 2009) Twitter will officially hit what is being called the Twitpocalypse.

The Twitpolcalypse is a mathematical event that could spell the end (for a short period) for third party Twitter clients. The way the Twitter API works is that a unique numeric identifier is assigned to each and every tweet.

At 5PM ET (or so) the unique identified will hit 2,147,483,647. That number apparently is the signed integer limit and it will cause third party Twitter clients to crash.

The 5 PM ET Twitpocalypse is actually an induced event…it was originally going to occur sometime around 3 AM PT on Saturday. But Twitter developers figured it would be better to trigger the event on a Friday afternoon than  naturally allowing the event to occur

“This will let us make sure we have all
staff available in the unlikely event something goes wrong on our end,” Twitter developer Matt Sanford wrote in a mailing list posting. “We’ll also be available when people who don’t follow the twitter-dev-
talk list start reporting errors. While we did warn developers about
the Twitpocalypse I’m sorry we didn’t think about setting a drop-dead
date and scheduling this previously.We’ll keep trying to improve on
warnings like this.

Good night, and good luck.”

There is no indication that the Twitpocalypse will affect the web based Twitter client – but hey most people (myself included use a third party client). So if you’re out tonight and can’t seem to access Twitter – don’t blame the Fail Whale – it’s the Twitpocalypse.

Oh and if you want to watch the official countdown – it’s all online at Twitpocalypse.com

Follow me on Twitter @TechJournalist

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